Oregon governor Kate Brown signs transgender equality bill
The governor of the US state of Oregon has signed a pro-equality bill that will allow transgender individuals to keep changes to their birth certificate confidential.
Oregon now becomes the second state, after California, to adopt such a law.
Governor Kate Brown, a Democrat who is openly bisexual, signed the measure after concerns that employers and landlords would be able to dig-up records of birth certificate changes, which are held on public record in most US states, and discriminate against transgender individuals.
The new law also allows court cases involving gender identity changes on birth records to be kept private.
Whilst only a minor tweak of state law, Kate Brown’s measure could have a major positive impact on the local transgender community, according to Stacey Rice, executive co-director of Q Center, a Portland community support center for LGBT individuals.
Rice told fashion magazine Cosmopolitan that she was has still been unable to change her North Carolina birth certificate because she hasn’t undergone a sex-change operation, which state law says must be confirmed through a doctor’s letter.
It was announced last month that Oregon could become the first US state to allow a third gender option on driving licences.
A bill passed in the state legislature last month allows drivers the option of ‘X’ instead of the traditional binary ‘Male’ or ‘Female’ options on licences.
The news came after a US military veteran became the first person in the US to legally change their gender to nonbinary.
“As far as we know, this may be the first ruling of its kind in the U.S.,” said Transgender Law Center’s Legal Director Ilona Turner to the Daily Dot.
And in 2016 a person from Oregon became the first legally agender person in the US.
Patch, a 27-year-old video game designer, also won the right to become amononymous – that is, to be known by a first name alone, with no surname.
Governor Kate Brown assumed office in 2015.
The state of Oregon has not always had a perfect record on LGBT rights, however.
In 2004 voters approved a measure banning same-sex marriage, which was overturned a decade later.